In many Corporates – Processes are right; Practices are not! Intentions are good; Implementation is not!

[Caveat – This is not meant to be a criticism! It is to bring on the table, what is not right in the most Corporates worldwide at all levels, so that Management, Managers and Employees have a better bait to notice and take measures to mend. Observations are based upon extensive study, research and experience.]

Most Corporates do put in place programs and processes like Six Sigma, TQM, Lean etc., vision and mission, training and development initiatives for employees. Lot of good and right things happens as a result.

Yet, many things still go wrong. Which are those?

Vision and Mission statements

It is common for Corporates to have imaginative Vision and Mission statements. These usually carry a great message, with great call to action. How many in the organization really understand the real meaning behind such statements? If they indeed do, then their character and culture would have to change, which does not seem to be the case!
It is often seen, top management leaves it for employees to understand. This is not good enough. Vision and Mission of the company require push and passion, employees need to be explained the intent and content, encouraged to imbibe and implement.

At Top Management level

Following areas need attention and action:

  1. 70 to 80% of top executives lack direct contacts with employees and customers. Hence, their information on market pulse and company environment is secondary and censored.
  2. They often confuse “confidently or aggressively speaking managers” as “leaders”, even when they (managers) lack depth in caliber and competence.
  3. They like to set stretch targets; but remain silent on direction to get there.
  4. Their likes and dislikes often control the choice for blue eyed boys or back-ups.
  5. They often do not make distinction, while evaluating performance of a manager; on how much contribution came from “favorable market conditions, requiring little efforts” and how much from “his/her own effectiveness and efforts”.
  6. They talk of freedom for feedback; but dislike dissent.
  7. They tend to lend greater ear to those, who find flaws than those, who find virtues. Therefore, stronger opinions are built around negative information.
  8. Many proclaim their organization to be bottom-up; but they keep driving top down.
  9. Most cases, the criteria for good performance are figures; no or little credit for value creation.
    That is where Toxic Managers, who deliver figures, find favor and damage inflicted by them to company atmosphere, go with impunity!
  10. Most would criticize their managers for failures; very few would be critical for their own!
  11. More than 90% talk of popular themes “Change”, “Passion”, “Empathy”, “People orientation”; but they lack conviction to walk these talks.
    Let us look at intention to drive a Change. Its implementation could mean change in company culture, strategy, business model or processes and most importantly, the way employees think and work, to align with company objectives. Change has to start from self and go down to people for securing sure success. Does that get a top priority?

At Unit Head or Managerial level

They need to pay attention to:

  1. Amount of time to prepare plans and presentations to top management is completely disproportionate to time they invest to implement.
  2. In event of failures or shortfalls, most find flaws with market conditions and/or competitors.
  3. Most consider Quality as requirements for compliance and certification and least as a mission. Hence, organizations seldom accrue real benefit from Quality System.
  4. Selection of High Potential employees by managers usually is based 80% on their liking or comfort and barely 20% on merit.
  5. Managerial courage and entrepreneurial skills are usually their weak points.
  6. Most love empowerment and open- mindedness; but give lip service, when it comes to doing it.
  7. They expect to get respect from employees and would do little to earn it.
  8. Their empathy for employees generally goes with suspicion – if more is done for employees, it would increase their appetite to expect more.
  9. Often gap is seen in what they think or mean, speak and do, though they advise and advocate transparency.
  10. If sub-ordinate under-performs, more than 90% managers feel that nothing is attributable to them.
  11. Nearly all like to hold the hands of strong performers, who do not need hand-holding. Weaker ones need it; but do not get it.

At Employee level

They need to notice and nudge following:

  1. Majority does not like to drive; instead allow them to be driven.
  2. Compliance to ethics and other policies by more than 95% employees is by fear and not by choice. This is where true value of such policies is never unleashed.
  3. Most are bugged by “Neighbor’s Syndrome”. Their perceptions build or break depending upon what happens or goes with neighbor.
  4. Very little focus on communication skills and how to carry self.
  5. They often undermine their hidden potential. They need to use their training and development programs to unravel it.
  6. Many show impatience in getting more opportunities, even when they are not ready.
  7. When their personal growth expectations are not met, most would feel dissatisfied; but hesitate to have a dialog with supervisor on what they need to do to get there.
  8. There is more focus on results and rewards than efforts to become eligible for those.
  9. Most do not realize the importance of “attention to details”.
  10. Learning and leveraging lessons get low priority.
  11. “Change” is the biggest opportunity, which they often waste, since it is treated as a topic to talk; but not transform self.

Take Aways –

  1. Processes are only platitudes, unless 100% practiced in letter n spirit.
  2. Intentions remain imaginary, unless implemented with full faith n fervor.
  3. Compliance by choice n not by fear can only unleash true value of the system.


6 responses to “In many Corporates – Processes are right; Practices are not! Intentions are good; Implementation is not!”

  1. Rudra Avatar

    That’s a very good topic you brought-on. And this very argument starts from the fact what “type” of employees do you recruit and what are their ambitions in life.

    Can those employees communicate well? Do they lack depth in caliber and competence? Can they be handled easily?

    “In many Corporate – Processes are right; Practices are not! Intentions are good; Implementation is not!”… Practices and Implementation can only be right if you have the right person for the right job, isn’t it? Blame it on the recruitment process and I know it is a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the truth. I am not saying that I am perfect for my job, but I love doing it. A company’s management should have the ability to ‘place’ the correct person at the correct ‘job’. It’s a hard thing to do but those who do it, they succeed. I am saying this out of my personal experience as I’ve seen/heard many times people complaining about their work/job, kind of job. Some say they got in this corporate world by-mistake, by fluke, some people are here for some ‘other’ reasons and so on… Well, you and I can argue for the eternity on the ‘selection process’ especially in our part of the world, but that remains a hard-hitting fact.

    So… “Right Person for the Right Job”, solves this issue… 🙂

    I read somewhere in your post regarding “Neighbor’s Syndrome”… and I am getting a feeling that you’re against it!! Well, I don’t see any issues having a “Neighbor’s Syndrome”?? This is a competitive world and at some point in time, you’ll have to check what your neighbor is up-to if you really want to overtake him and proceed. If you’re not aware of what your neighbor is doing sitting next to you and if you only look at yourself, your work and what you’re doing, the rest of the world will outdo you in a flash and you’ll be there sitting at your place reaching nowhere!!

    If I get to know that my neighbor has done something great that led to his Promotion (or vice-versa), I may try doing better things ‘before time’ to get a Promotion as well, correct? There’s nothing wrong in learning!! :P… But if I am going to say that OK, I should not be bothered about what’s happening in my surroundings, and should only concentrate on myself, I am gonna lose the competitiveness. Let’s put it this way – you’re running in a 100 m race, and not looking at your neighbor but keep running. Will you ever reach your goal in time? You have to see and check where your ‘neighbor’ is and how far has he gone!!

    Will India ever progress if it doesn’t know what its neighbor countries are up-to?

    Having said that, it all depends on individuals what positives and negatives they can gain from this “neighbor’s syndrome”. I take it in a good way, some people take it otherwise.

    If my neighbor buys an Audi, I buy a Mercedes… that’s how I proceed from Suzuki to Mercedes. Had I not seen him, I still would’ve been driving a Suzuki!! (All characters and names are fictitious here :))

    My post may sound a bit silly and immature to you but that’s what I think… your experienced thoughts are always welcome!! Pls correct me wherever I am wrong…

    Cheers!! 🙂

    1. murli Avatar

      Thanks and I appreciate your extensive comments and views.

      Let us get the perspective right. “Right person for the right job” – Job or a defined function in a company is a job; there is nothing right or wrong about it. So it leaves whether person is right or not. Ask any person, who is responsible for recruiting or selecting and he or she would say that he or she does the best to his or her abilities. Consider that the person appointed is indeed qualified and experienced; but does not or partly “follow the processes and implement the intents”. This is what exactly happens in real life. Otherwise, why would anything go wrong in an organization? So, it not a question of only having right person; but his or her actions and executions have to be right! This is what the Post is all about.

      Neighbor’s Syndrome – It does not mean “do not look at neighbor or have competitive spirit with him or her”. It is about getting impacted or building and breaking opinion without proper thinking or consciousness. Citing your example, you are happy with your Suzuki. Your neighbor buys Audi, so would you buy Mercedes, simply because he has done it? What is if you can not afford or maintain? Now he sells his Audi, would you also sell your Mercedes, because he has done it? If one believe that such actions are right, then go ahead and do it. Ultimately, bottom line is what you end up with – Success or Failure in what you want to accomplish?

      1. Rudra Avatar

        Yes, correct… agree on your feedback on “right person on the right job”. What I meant was you just can’t ask a Goalkeeper to keep wickets for you in Cricket – though the ‘job’ is same in both the games, to catch/stop the ball diving around.

        In our realistic context, you can’t expect an Engineer to ‘write’ a grammatically prolific spelled technical document OR you can’t expect a Software Developer to do Administration tasks for you. They can do it for sure but won’t give their 100%, and that is where a company’s goals are affected. So this needs to be stopped and corrected wherever this is happening.

        But yes, you mentioned that correct, ‘right person’ is as important as the ‘right job’!!

        Regarding neighbor’s syndrome, as I also mentioned in my post, it’s all about how positively or negatively you take your neighbor’s actions. In my e.g., I always wanted to progress further (and buy a Merc) but was not getting any inspiration. So when I saw my neighbor got it… that motivated me to go one step ahead (here, my neighbor inspired me). I would any which way have bought a Merc in the near future but by keeping an eye at my surroundings, I managed to do that before-time. And if he sells his vehicle, that’s a WIN for me. I got ahead of him or should I say he helped me in getting ahead of him – that’s what I call competition.

        Tomorrow, I may look around some other neighbor who might have a Bentley so that I can go for a RR… 🙂 (these are just examples, I can afford none!! :()

        So agreeing to your facts, its all about HOW you are affected by your ‘deadly’ neighbor… if your mind is clear and you are not bogged-down by him, you are a SUCCESS!! 🙂

        Thanks!! 🙂

        1. murli Avatar

          You are committed and passionate! Many thanks for your efforts to put down additional view points!! Please take a step further – Goalkeeper is a wrong person to do wicket keeping; but wicket keeping by itself in not a wrong job.

  2. Fred Voll Avatar
    Fred Voll

    Murli, I continue to enjoy your writings. I just concluding reading this column as I catch up on emails having arrived in Pune early this morning. I’ll be meeting with EEEC’s Modernization/Migration teams Mon – Wed. As it relates to your article we’ll be revisiting some of our process to ensure they are optimized and to drive further consistency in their implementation.

    Ther are many items in your article that I can relate to. In particular “learning and leveraging lessons get low priority” continues to be challenge. Affecting real change from lessons learned is easier said than done but is an essential attribute of a successful Unit Head / Manager.



    1. murli Avatar

      I greatly endear your comments! I feel exhilarated and excited that you are putting the ideas of this post to real execution. I hope, several others would emulate the example you are setting!!

      Real change would always look difficult; but if you believe it to be “one way road”, you would not look back, and reach your destination for sure.

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